ESPN 30 for 30

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dx23
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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#51 Post by dx23 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:36 pm

There's No Place Like Home was simply horrible. The protagonist is just a douchebag fanatic who mislead people about his true intentions and got lucky when he found a very rich millionaire who is very fond of Kansas Basketball. I couldn't stand John Swade at all and the fact is that this was almost the same as a kid begging someone for the Honus Wagner card. A completely childish, useless, narcissist cause. I can't believe that ESPN funded this documentary.
Last edited by dx23 on Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#52 Post by Titus » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:34 pm

Swade wasn't doing this for his own benefit, he was doing it out of his passion for Kansas basketball (not Kentucky basketball -- an important distinction given that the doc was as much about the history of the Kansas program as anything else). And he didn't just stumble onto David Booth and swindle him out of $4 million. Booth is a very well known KU alum, booster, and diehard basketball fan, and Swade doubtlessly realized that his best chance of winning the auction (especially given how little time he had to put everything together) was relying on Booth and convincing him of the importance of making Lawrence the document's home.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#53 Post by dx23 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:46 pm

Yeah, Kansas. My mistake. I corrected that on my previous post. Still, the way he got to talk to people was misleading. Saying that you are doing a documentary on Naismith and then changing your tune that all of this is a ruse to get these people to donate for a cause that is simply a collectible is just wrong. And Kansas University wasn't that supportive because that $3.8 million could actually have gone to something actually productive like scholarships.

In the private high school I went to in Puerto Rico we had a similar problem when one of the administrators starting lobbying to get supporters to donate money to get some historic religious artifacts. A lot of them did and at the end of the day who did that donation and purchases benefit? No one except the administrator's collection. When he was fired, he got the entire collection as compensation. That money could easily had gone to kids that needed scholarships.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#54 Post by Titus » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Yeah, but he was probably worried he wouldn't get past Booth's assistant if he was upfront about the fact that he was looking for a donation. He was trying to make sure he was able to make his pitch in person (and show the endorsements he'd gotten from Roy Williams, Larry Brown, Jay Bilas, etc. regarding the importance of the cause). Near the end of the documentary, Bill Self talked about how you have to be "a little nutty" to accomplish something like this. Swade definitely came across as fanatical (the bit about Duke fans thinking they're "God's gift to basketball" was more than a little ironic), and he was disingenuous, but he probably doesn't pull this off otherwise.

And I guess I understand the complaint about the triviality of the cause, but that criticism can be made about pretty much anything sports-related. Booth just donated $300 million to the University of Chicago's Business School (where he earned his MBA) a few years ago. Spending $4 million on this historical artifact doesn't preclude him from making donations for more practical causes.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#55 Post by dx23 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:18 pm

Other thing that bothered me was how Swade acted and dressed completely unprofessionally throughout all the documentary. While the auction was going on, he was acting so childish in the background, like someone who has issues controlling himself.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#56 Post by dx23 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:13 am

So far Benji has been the best of the new films by a longshot. Really sad to hear the accounts of what happened and how this future star saw his life come to an end for a completely stupid argument.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#57 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:40 am

I liked Pony Express. Illegal recruitment tactics by colleges has always been interesting to me. Old rich white men willing to sink thousands (maybe even more) into a program is the inverse of the American dream. As someone said in it, the kids wind up owning you because if things go south they go right directly to the NCAA.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#58 Post by Andre Jurieu » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:02 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:... the kids wind up owning you because if things go south they go right directly to the NCAA.
In the history of shady recruiting tactics and boosters paying star-athletes, I think that's a rare occurrence.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#59 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:39 pm

I am guessing most programs weren't as flagrant with it as SMU was, not to mention the political implications with the governor being involved.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#60 Post by Andre Jurieu » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:07 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:I am guessing most programs weren't as flagrant with it as SMU was...
In general, no, few programs are ever as blatant about their violations as SMU seemed to be, but I'm also continually amazed at how the NCAA often ignores obvious violations by some of the more successful, established, and storied programs that continue to operate and thrive under its banner. I'm not saying this as some jealous fan, since even some of the programs I cheer for and support often have their violations quietly swept under the rug or somehow significantly downgraded after the NCAA investigation has concluded, sometimes with no clear reason provided. In general, recruiting is kind of cesspool.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#61 Post by jedgeco » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:21 pm

dx23 wrote:There's No Place Like Home was simply horrible.
The description of it on the guide made it sound like it would be a documentary about the filmmakers sleuthing to uncover the original, long lost and forgotten, document containing the rules of basketball. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" meets "Hoop Dreams."

Then 10 minutes in, I discovered that, no, it's just going to be a film about a guy trying to raise money to win a Sotheby's auction and figured I'd pass.

(Disclosure: I don't care about basketball or Kansas.)

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#62 Post by Black Hat » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:21 pm

I totally agree on No Place Like Home being complete self indulgent tripe. If anything it should be included in a larger film titled Ass Backwards: Why America is a Mess.

I appreciated what Broke was trying to do but, it felt way too much like one of those VH1 best of the 80s shows. I was half expecting Michael Ian Black to pop up on my screen to share some unfunny anecdote about how a Mayim Bialik look alike conned him out of his free drink tickets from his first comedy club gig.

On the bright side I very much enjoyed 9.79*. Remembering how bad Johnson was vilified at the time you can't help but, to feel bad for the guy. Goes to show you one again that these peds should be legalized because if anyone thinks any of these sports, from the NBA to Tennis, are 'clean', I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#63 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:28 pm

I think you hit on what I dislike about that production company. I had the same issue with the frivolity of The U, though the subject matter nearly matched the approach there. Broke deserved a more serious approach, though one that could still hold the target audience's attention.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#64 Post by Andre Jurieu » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:42 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:I had the same issue with the frivolity of The U, though the subject matter nearly matched the approach there.
I think that's why I thought The U was one of the more entertaining docs in the series. Its method and subject matter were pretty much synchronized perfectly to give you a sense of how the program functioned, sustained itself, and ultimately collapsed. Meanwhile The Pony Express felt like a doc on PEDs.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#65 Post by Black Hat » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:04 pm

Yeah, I mean Broke was very surfacey in its approach where in my view it would have really benefited from a narrower, more in depth focus. The way they went about it brought about far too many moments of levity which in my view further promoted the dumb, flashy black man good for nothing but, strength and brute stereotype.

The U was completely different for me as the sheer scope Miami in its heyday was only accentuated by hearing from so many people in quick one hitter anecdotes but, at the same time the production value there also fell on the cheese side of things.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#66 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:00 pm

I think the point that Broke was trying to make was that a lot of these [often black] men are forcing that distinction upon themselves when they don't need to be, and can move beyond it/above it. But that thesis was more than a little lost on the sauce.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#67 Post by dx23 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:01 pm

Black Hat wrote:I totally agree on No Place Like Home being complete self indulgent tripe. If anything it should be included in a larger film titled Ass Backwards: Why America is a Mess.
My dislike for this "doc" (and I use the term very loosely) increases the more I think about it. I still don't know why ESPN or Bill Simmons approved this film since it shows the worst of being a fan. The first thing is that Kansas basketball is not important at all outside of Kansas. They don't have the reputation or following that schools like Duke or UNC or even Kentucky have nationally. Second, I felt the audience, including myself were as mislead by the makers of this crap the same way that the people who participated in this were. I was expecting a documentary on the rules of basketball document and all I got was an delusional prick acting like a jackass for 60 minutes while trying to get money for one of the worst fundraisers I've ever heard of. Still, what annoys me the most besides Swade is the way he kept saying that Kansas is the center of the basketball world and the Hall of Fame should be there instead of Springfield,Mass. Basketball was created by Naismith in Sprinfield, Mass and the only thing related to Kansas is that Naismith went to work there 10 years later. By the way, the A.V. Club has a very good review that details more flaws about this crap.
Andre Jurieu wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:I am guessing most programs weren't as flagrant with it as SMU was...
In general, no, few programs are ever as blatant about their violations as SMU seemed to be, but I'm also continually amazed at how the NCAA often ignores obvious violations by some of the more successful, established, and storied programs that continue to operate and thrive under its banner. I'm not saying this as some jealous fan, since even some of the programs I cheer for and support often have their violations quietly swept under the rug or somehow significantly downgraded after the NCAA investigation has concluded, sometimes with no clear reason provided. In general, recruiting is kind of cesspool.
I'm always annoyed by the way the NCAA punishes athletic programs that have violated rules. First of all, usually the responsible parties for any infractions don't get punished at all since they are not part of the program. Second, their punishment for rules violations is just removing team wins and championships, like if they can change history or erase people's memory doing that. Although I agree with some of the punishments they have handed to current programs for past violations, like they did at Penn State, most of the time these are handed to teams with kids that had nothing to do with the infractions. I agree with what they did at Penn State, since the entire program showed that were not repentant on what Paterno did and saw more important the football program than the safety of children, but in many cases, like the punishment handed to the Michigan basketball program for violations that Chris Webber and his Fab Five team did, the ones who got the blow from the NCAA were the kids in the current roster and that couldn't transfer to another university without having to seat one year to regain the playing eligibility.

I wish more boosters and imbeciles outside these athletic programs who give the money, cars, etc., get punished by the NCAA, but that hardly, if ever, happens.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#68 Post by Titus » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:33 pm

dx23 wrote: The first thing is that Kansas basketball is not important at all outside of Kansas. They don't have the reputation or following that schools like Duke or UNC or even Kentucky have nationally.
Hmm. I think some of the statements being made about Swade's campaign being symptomatic of a serious problem with American society are pretty silly, but I agree that this 30 for 30 was awkwardly done, had a fairly unlikable protagonist, and had a pretty uninteresting subject. But this specific statement doesn't make any sense and suggests that you may not follow college basketball, which could help explain why your reaction to the doc has been so violently negative. Kansas has an enormous national following, they're the second winningest program in the history of college basketball (trailing Kentucky), and the program has produced or been associated with some of the most important figures in the history of basketball (Naismith, Phog Allen, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, etc). Naismith worked and/or lived in Lawrence for the majority of his life -- the link between he and the program is not tenuous. The Kansas program is arguably the most tradition-rich in all of college basketball, which is why this documentary was picked up by ESPN. Most of this information was covered in the doc.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#69 Post by Andre Jurieu » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:38 pm

dx23 wrote:My dislike for this "doc" (and I use the term very loosely) increases the more I think about it. I still don't know why ESPN or Bill Simmons approved this film since it shows the worst of being a fan. The first thing is that Kansas basketball is not important at all outside of Kansas. They don't have the reputation or following that schools like Duke or UNC or even Kentucky have nationally... Still, what annoys me the most besides Swade is the way he kept saying that Kansas is the center of the basketball world and the Hall of Fame should be there instead of Springfield,Mass. Basketball was created by Naismith in Sprinfield, Mass and the only thing related to Kansas is that Naismith went to work there 10 years later.
First - I have similar feeling on the poor quality of the documentary/episode/subject matter. It's the kind of story that deserves an article in a Kansas-area paper, but I have no idea why it was so incredibly important to make this into a nationally-televised documentary. However, this is largely due to poor execution and limiting the audience almost immediately because they don't really devote much time attempting to connect the audience with the task. I doubt it would have worked for any sports team within any sport - whether it's the New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers, or Montreal Canadiens, because it was basically about a super-fan that wanted to get some wealthy sports-fans to pay for an expensive piece of sports memorabilia. We're not exactly dealing with the same type of material that eventually winds up as Miracle, Hoosiers, or Rudy.

Second - Considering he's such an insane (albeit self-aware) fan of the Red Sox, I could certainly see how Bill Simmons would identify with this guy's perspective and efforts to figure out a way to obtain something he feels is important and have it become a treasured artifact for the program/team he identifies so much with.

Third - Much like Titus, I have to disagree with you regarding the importance and tradition of Kansas basketball. Kansas might not get as much press and t-shirt sales as Duke, UNC, and Kentucky (at least nowadays with Calipari's recent success in making it NBA-lite), but it's certainly one of college basketballs most storied programs. I would certainly place it within the Top 5 or 10 most important and successful programs in college basketball. Kansas basketball deserves to be included with the likes of UNC, Duke, UCLA, and Kentucky, and I have to agree with Titus regarding the documentary actually doing a pretty great job in making a case that it should be considered to be one of the programs steeped in tradition and success. I've been a college basketball fan for most of my life, and I honestly have never thought that Kansas basketball was merely a regional obsession, especially since it's one of the very few programs that consistently achieves success and routinely battles for a #1 seed come tournament time. In terms of a team having more regional support than national support, I would think that applies more to a program like Louisville, UConn, Arizona, Michigan State, Syracuse, Indiana, or maybe even Ohio State (though they had a real drop-off for about 10-15 years).

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#70 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:58 pm

I would actually be very interested in a doc about the UConn women's program (or any other college level women's team that manages to generate that level of enthusiasm- the Lady Vols come to mind) if only to fight the irritating stereotype that nobody really cares about women's sports. Though I assume you meant the UConn men's team in your comment.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#71 Post by dx23 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:53 pm

Maybe I wasn't clear on my previous posts but I was not in any way dismissing Kansas basketball's importance in the sports world or dismissing their rich tradition. I agree with both Andre and Titus ( and yes, I follow college basketball and the pro-level too) in that Kansas is at the same level in terms of history and success with the likes of Duke, UNC, Kentucky and UCLA. But like Andre said, Kansas doesn't get as much press or ticket sales outside their regions as those other teams and sadly, today that equals to popularity.

Like you guys said, Kentucky is a very important basketball program and the doc mentioned that, but barely and that is why it misses. If Swade had made the doc about the rules of the game and the importance of Kansas basketball, giving more screen time to those actually involved and made the film less about him and his stupid cause, then this would have certainly be a worthy 30 for 30. What makes it worse is that there is actual footage and interviews done by Swade with former members of Kansas Basketball. Sadly, Swade wanted to make this more about himself and in the process failed to show the viewer all this great history that basketball fans like us know. It is truly a missed opportunity by everyone involved, Simmons should know that this is one that looked great on paper but failed in the execution.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#72 Post by Andre Jurieu » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:06 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:I would actually be very interested in a doc about the UConn women's program (or any other college level women's team that manages to generate that level of enthusiasm- the Lady Vols come to mind) if only to fight the irritating stereotype that nobody really cares about women's sports. Though I assume you meant the UConn men's team in your comment.
I did mean the UConn Men's program, but that's only because we were discussing men's college basketball history and tradition. Maybe it's due in part to the fact that I used to coach high school girls basketball for a few years, but I would actually be very interested in a documentary regarding the Lady Vols, especially with Pat Summit's recent health-concerns forcing her to step down from the program. In fact, the UConn vs Tennessee rivalry would be great material for a documentary, considering the coaches often got pretty heated when discussing the other program. However, it's fairly unlikely within the 30 for 30 series since Simmons has always been fairly dismissive when it comes to women's basketball (though to be fair, he mostly makes fun of how the NBA is desperate to convince the general public that the WNBA is a thriving venture and a financial success).

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#73 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:22 pm

You Don't Know Bo was interesting, really just having grown up with the "Bo Knows" stuff and not really being aware of his particular skills or highlights as an athlete.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#74 Post by Black Hat » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:03 pm

You Don't Know Bo had the same problem that many of the 30 for 30s have, rehashing a story verbatim without adding anything new to it. Don't get me wrong it was fun to relive those memories as Bo Jackson's right in my childhood wheelhouse but, anybody from around 30 on up really learned nothing that we didn't already know about Bo and in that regard it was disappointing. Who wants to hear from Jeremy Schaap, Mike Greenberg and a bunch of other pundits talking about Bo? They were around him about as much as any of us were. Give me more guys like Howie Long, George Brett, Mark Gubicza etc. These 30 for 30s have a tendency to be video Wikipedia entries crossed with a sanitized version of First Take.

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Re: ESPN 30 for 30

#75 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:46 pm


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